Another year, another pack test


 Another year, another pack test, another 3 miles in 45 minutes wearing 45 pounds. (The pack test is the fitness test wildland firefighters have to pass each year as part of their qualifications to go to the fireline.) As of yesterday that makes 14 years of pack tests under my belt. Rooky wildland firefighters  often ask those of us who’ve taken it before what they should expect. My reply goes something like this, “It’s totally doable but it’s going to hurt. It’s an unnaturally fast pace. Expect shin splints by the first half mile but by the end of the first mile they should be numb. After that you’ll have different aches each quarter mile or so but they’ll come and go. It’s mostly a mental game.” 

Each year I take the pack test, I wonder why I do this to myself. Then again, you would think after so many years it would get easier. Mentally it has gotten easier; I know what to expect and how to deal with what’s coming. The caveat to that is the knowledge that my job depends on passing it which makes it somewhat terrifying and knowing that if I fail, there are a lot of people who will be there to witness it. So really it isn’t that easy mentally. Physically it’s easier because I know how to train for it and I know what level of pain to expect; the whole good pain versus bad pain thing. But this year, at 4.5 months post-baby with only a so-so month of training to prepare I wasn’t even sure I was up to the challenge.

One day later I find myself a little sore (probably soon to be a lot sore!) with another red card in hand. (The red card, or Incident Qualification Card, is the card we receive when we have passedour refresher training and pack test each year. Without it you aren’t allowed onto the fireline.) Fear of failure does amazing things to move these legs around the track. I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad that I’ve got another year on the books. I’m very glad I’ve got another year to train and who knows, maybe next year will be the year that 3 miles in 45 minutes wearing 45 pounds gets easier.

The Ambassador Renovation Continues…

*Guest Post by Jake

In this installment of the Airstream Chronicles I’ll give you a peek at what’s been happening. Things have been busy around here and while some of the progress is visually impressive there have been a lot of tiny but very important steps completed as well. Two of the biggest changes have been warmer weather and daylight savings time, both of which have really kicked this project into hyper drive. It’s nice to see things moving along.

When I last left you we had just installed a new front panel on the exterior. After I got that in it was time to get cracking on the interior. Laying out the wiring in the old girl hasn’t exactly been a simple process so instead I started out getting the back wall paneling installed and building the base for our bed. The queen-sized, “don’t leave home without it” memory foam bed. Okay, maybe leave home once in a while without it but not if we’re out ‘Streamin’.


While the rear paneling was being started and the wiring diagrams being thought out (over several weeks) a surprise arrived at Green Star Camper, the local camper joint where I purvey, a brand new Atwood air conditioner, the new water heater, and a powered roof vent. With the really warm weather there was no better time to get the new A/C unit, roof vent, and the water heater installed. While jumping around the trailer working on the A/C and vent I  figured now was a good time as any to get the new running lights installed too. Slowly it seems that maybe, just maybe, this grand trailer will once again grace the open road.


Stay tuned to the Airstream Chronicles and Riveted Revival as we continue this Ambassador overhaul.



Lately we’ve been busy but not busy at the same time, if that makes any sense. I think between being back at work full-time, commuting 2 hours each day and all the minutia required to keep day-to-day life functioning there just hasn’t been much space left. But here’s what’s been going on in that tiny space that is left. Lately we’ve been…

flexing a little creative muscle with our screen printing projects.

crocheting cute hats for my adorable but nearly bald babe. The crocheting addiction continues!

watching all three season of Longmire on Netflix and iTunes in anticipation of the upcoming release of Season 4!!

making some serious progress on the Airstream remodel. The paneling inside the shell is going up, the wiring is almost complete and interior walls are going in. After it being a hollow shell for so long, it’s starting to look and feel like a camper again!

wishing that camper was complete so we could take it out on the road and go play! Spring  fever is in full swing in our house.

cleaning stuff out like a fiend. One side effect of Spring Fever is Spring Cleaning but oh man, it feels so good to see things sparkling clean. Now if the flowers and grass would get onboard with spring, we’d be in business.

(slowly) returning to running using the Couch-to-5k plan. Ouch!! It’s hard to believe that I once was able to run a 10k without blinking but I hope to be back there by this fall.

watching the Peanut grow in front of our eyes. Any day I fully expect her to take off running…okay, maybe not exactly running but rolling and crawling for sure.

Winter is usually my favorite season but this year it’s Spring for the win!